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Large-scale methamphetamine production emerges in Cambodia during pandemic

Tanutam Thawan

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Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

During the pandemic, Cambodia has become a major base for the large-scale production of methamphetamine as drug traffickers workaround Covid-19 restrictions, according to the United Nations.

Last year, during the pandemic, 170 tonnes of methamphetamine were seized by authorities in Asia, a 19% increase from the year prior, according to a report by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime. While economies have slowed down worldwide, drug networks have been able to not only survive but capitalise, according to UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Jeremy Douglas.

“While the pandemic has caused the global economy to slow down, criminal syndicates that dominate the region have quickly adapted and capitalised.”

While methamphetamine production has emerged in Cambodia, the notorious Golden Triangle, where Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet, is still the main production base in the region. Production of methamphetamine is primarily in Myanmar’s Shan State in the Golden Triangle. With the increase in methamphetamine, prices for large quantities of the drug have decreased in Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Drug trafficking has increased in Laos as networks avoid transit through Thailand and Vietnam due to Covid-19 restrictions and tight law enforcement. Thailand is still a major transit point for drug traffickers, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said in a previous report. Following major busts in Australia and South Korea involving large shipments of methamphetamine trafficked through Thailand, the Somsak announced that Thai authorities are now working with foreign agencies on investigating drug trafficking with routes in Thailand.

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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